WMAT moves back to Phase Three

WHITERIVER – The White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) announced in a July 22 press release that they were returning to Phase Three of their reopening plan on Sunday, July 25 at 10 p.m. The reason cited was the recent increase of COVID-19 cases on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and the prevalence of the Delta variant in Arizona.

The monthly dashboard posted on the WMAT Emergency Operations Center’s (EOC) Facebook page, dated July 23, showed a daily increase of positives of 13; active positive cases, 49 and 125 inconclusive, which means there is a Coronavirus in the sample but it is at such a low amount that technically it does not meet the criteria to be counted as a positive.

The dashboard also showed that 9,810 have received the first primer dose of the vaccine; 8.798 have received the booster dose, and 876 have received the one time vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.

It was May 15 when the Tribe entered the Modified Normal Phase due to the trend of positive COVID-19 rates remaining below 5%, along with the fact that the Tribe had reached its goal of 8,500 vaccinations.

Phase Three of the Tribe’s Reopening Plan includes:

  • All Tribal employees are to continue working full-time schedules according to their department’s official business hours
  • Tribal departments are open to the public by appointment only
  • Tribal employees’ check-in and self-reporting screening process remains in effect
  • Site management and prevention/risk management practices remain in effect in the workplace
  • Home visits are allowed in accordance with off-site procedures
  • Tribal CREEA Leave remains available for up to 80 hours each calendar year
  • The employee vehicle use policy and the Tribal employee and resident travel policy remain in effect
  • Public and family gathering and outdoor activities may continue, including sports and tailgate in accordance with the indoor and outdoor gatherings policy
  • A nightly curfew is imposed between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • All wakes are prohibited. Families may honor their loved ones with a church or graveside service

A mask mandate remains in effect on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

The Whiteriver Service Unit is able to provide the COVID-19 vaccine at various community vaccine clinics or through scheduling an appointment at (928) 338-5549.

Due to the return to Phase Three and the increase in COVID-19 cases, WMAT EOC will be posting a daily dashboard Monday through Friday on their Facebook page.

Reach the reporter at bbruce@wmicentral.com

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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